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Embryo Opal album cover
3.78 | 58 ratings | 10 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

I. Opal (2:41)
2. You don't know what's happening (4:48)
3. Revolution (4:32)
4. Glockenspiel (5:04)
5. Gotnotime (1:30)
6. Call (3:31)
7. End of soul (4:08)
8. People from out the space (7:31)

Plus extra tracks:
9. You better have some fun (2:35)
10. Läuft (26:30)

Total Time: 62:50


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Christian Burchard / drums, vocals
- Ralph Fischer / bass, vocals (1 to 8)
- Edgar Hofmann / saxophone, flute, percussion
- John Kelly / guitar, vocals

Guest musicians:
- Bettsy Alleh / vocals
- Roberto Detrée / motocello
- Lothar Meid / bass (9-10)
- Holger Trülsch / bongos

Releases information

LP Ohr Schallplatten OMM 56.003
LP Materiali Sonori MASO 33046 (1986)
LP/CD Materiali Sonori MASO 14650
CD Materiali Sonori MASO 90012 (1992)

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Buy EMBRYO Opal Music

Extra tracks · Import
Materiali 2007
Audio CD$22.00
$44.38 (used)
Belle Antique 2013
Audio CD$41.99
Opal by EmbryoOpal by Embryo
Audio CD$67.53
Opal by Belle AntiqueOpal by Belle Antique
Belle Antique
Audio CD$79.27

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EMBRYO Opal ratings distribution

(58 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (26%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

EMBRYO Opal reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Embryo is an other pretty cool and cult german band which emerged at the beginning of the seventies from the krautrock scene. In this CD the musicians deliver a kind of totally free jazz experience mixed with a great dose of psychedelic and acoustic elements. This is their first, their strangest but without doubts my favorite. Despite that 'Opal' can disconcerted the less initiated of the listeners, it is a must for prog collectors. Historically this album stands among the best ever released in the Kraut-jazz genre.
Review by Sean Trane
4 stars One of those historically important albums, one of those that made Germany the third force in 70's rock after UK and US and second in prog (after UK and before Italy and France kicked in). This album is as important and relevant as Yeti and Lemmingen from Amon Duul II , Tago Maco from Can , UFO from Guru Guru , Gila's debut album , Malesch from Agitation Free and Ash Ra Tempel's debut and Faust's first two albums. Later on there will be more of them from Neu! , Kraftwerk but less relevant to prog. Those albums helped define German rock for the following decades and Embryo became internationally reknowned for their particularly free and ever inventive jazz-rock often tainted with world music a bit in the mould of Agitation Free's Malesch. Klaus Doldinger's Passport will also dable a lot into this area. Christian Burchard is of course one of the founding members of Amon Duul II but also the leader in this band.

I have only heard the old release without the bonus tracks but I am piqued with curiosity as for the 26 min long track but it could be also full of long soloing and the tracks are not from that era.

Review by loserboy
4 stars EMBRYO's "Opal" is a pure Krautrock masterpiece and certainly one of the more influential albums too that contributed to the genre. EMBRYO's band leader Christian Burchard (drummer/percussionist) was at the time hanging out with the AMON DUUL commune of freaks who had a symbiotic influence on each others music. Also joining Burchard on this debut album was John Kelly the future guitarist for TEN YEARS AFTER who gets lots of opportunity to add his fine fret work. "Opal" is predominantly an instrumental album with few voices and lyrics. I love Edgar Hoffman huge electric-violin and sax work here which really brings home the fusion of jazz and psych elements that they were intending to explore. Best way to maybe describe this album would be to imagine a sax playing fusion- era Miles Davis aka BITCHES BREW, with a touch of CAN and AMON DUUL II tossed into the equation. The album is a drastic fusion of rock, jazz, blues, soul and psychedelia and is a true milestone in the genre of psychedelic progressive rock.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3,5 stars actually...

Trully important German progressive band,formed in 1969 in Munich bt the main forces Christian Burchard and Edgar Hofmann.A year later they recorded and published their first LP ''Opal'' with its characteristic bizarre cover.''Opal'' is regarded by many as one of the best kraut-rock albums ever.The truth is I don't find it a masterpiece,but it is really a very strong release in general.It is dominated by long instrumental jazzy interplays with weird rhythms and excellent jamming saxes,supported by rocking/psychedelic electric guitars.On the other hand there are moments where the music is covered by the intense spacey atmosphere based on obscure cellos and percussions.Of course,every jazz band who respect themselves adds the appropriate doses of bluesy-oriented guitars and EMBRYO make no exception.The release is supported by two bonus tracks,especially the 26-min. ''Luft'' is the definition of good (but rather long) improvisated jazz rock.Finally,I can say that you should enjoy this work by one of the best kraut-rock bands ever.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars For the most part I would describe this record as having a strong 60's psychedelia flavour to it. There is some Free Jazz, and of course this is Krautrock all the way. Cool to see Roberto Detree playing his motocello on this one. He would go on to play in the band BETWEEN. There are 2 bonus tracks which were recorded around the same as the album, but there is a different bass player on it. His name is Lothar Meid, he would go on to play on PASSPORT's debut as well as on the "Live In London" release by AMON DUUL II from 1973. The second bonus track is over 26 minutes long and is really a Free Jazz jam. It is quite good with the sax leading the way throughout.

"Opal" is very 60's sounding with almost whispered vocals. The bass is prominant and I really like the guitar solo that goes on and on. This is my least favourite track. "You Don't Know What's Happening" is sort of a mysterious track with violin that helps give that mood. He yells the vocals at times and at other times they're psychedelic sounding, almost like they echo. Cool tune. "Revolution" opens with an uptempo guitar/bass/drum melody. Sax comes in replacing the guitar. Love that part. The tempo keeps shifting back and forth. Nice drumming.

"Glockendspiel" has the bass and drums as it's base as the sax offers up some dissonant and melodic sax melodies over top. Very impressive instrumental. "Got No Time" is a short spacey tune. "Call" is a great sounding song with prominant sax. Again the drums and bass shine. Some excellent guitar as well. "End Of A Soul" features spoken words about a soul being dead. It's kind of humerous. The music is outstanding in the background. "People From Out The Space" opens with some atmosphere before we get a melody a minute in. The sax, drums and bass stand out. Great sound 2 minutes in. A guitar solo before 3 minutes. Violin a minute later. The sax is back and it sounds amazing 7 minutes in.

A significant album in it's day that stands up very well after all these years. A low 4 stars.

Review by friso
4 stars Embryo - Opal (1970)

Heavy psychedelic rock, avant-garde, fusion, free-jazz, spoken word, proto-punk... this debut album by German Krautrock outfit Embryo is an eclectic mix of styles. Listed as jazz- rock/fusion, this debut clearly belongs to the Krautrock movement. The wild experimental vision of Embryo is original.

All songs are different, there are many styles in all compositions, the drums are very free, the vocals are wild & strange and the spoken word on 'End of Soul' is really funny. The guitars have a rhythm and blues sound, but there are many experimental passages if you listen carefully. The bass is often frantic and the wind-section gives the music it's avant-garde feel.

Most of the material is instrumental. There are some clear fusion-influences (perhaps from Miles Davis) with wild jazzy sax playing over psychedelic rock chord progressions. Some of the instrumental have a free-jazz feel with seemingly directionless experimentation that can be enjoyed after repeated listening. The drums/percussion are in the spotlights during most composition. I can't say I like everything (for instance the frantic drumming on You don't know what's happening), but it's a brave vision and many ideas are really good. The energetic approach of drummer Christian Burchard is an essential part of the sound of the band.

An eclectic mix, but what is the result? A mysterious jazz-rock/psychedelic record that at first sounded like avant-garde to me. Every spin I understand more of this strange formula, resulting in appreciation for their brave vision. The recording is good and really helps Embryo to get a spacey atmosphere at times.

Conclusion. A good krautrock record, that is said to be important for the genre. Easily overlooked because of Embryo being (rightfully so) place in the jazz-rock/fusion sub-cat. Recommended to fans of psychedelic music, fusion (with a focus on experimentation) and avant-garde. Three and a halve stars, rounded up because of the wild & free experimentation that results in an original record.

Review by Bonnek
4 stars Welcome to one of Germany's finest. Embryo is a Münich-based Krautrock band that was formed around drummer Christian Burchard after parting ways with Amon Düül II in 1969. The band went through a lot of different line-ups. Actually, from the gang gathered for this debut, only saxophone player Edgar Hofmann would be a longstanding companion for Burchard.

Opal is the most kraut-y album in the entire Embryo catalogue, featuring loosely flowing psychedelic rock music with lots of jazz influences. On the songs where the psychedelic elements prevail (such as the first two), the bands reminds a lot of Amon Düül II's Phallus Dei, not in the least due to the hazy vocals and the importance of the violin ("motocello") in the sound. From Revolution onwards the saxophone starts taking the lead and it provides a jazzier angle, not unlike Nucleus' old albums. But due to the stellar psych-blues guitars of future Ten Years After guitarist John Kelly, this still remains a rock album above anything else.

The original album was quite short but the CD re-issue adds interesting bonus material from earlier 1969 recordings. You Better have some Fun blends in perfectly with the album. The 26 minutes free improvisation Läuft presents a totally different side of the band, not dissimilar from the wilder Ash Ra Temple material, but with saxophones leading instead of guitars. The inventive and intuitive playing of Burchard is very similar to Schulze's drumming with ART.

It's impossible pointing out favorites here. All tracks are quite brilliant, regardless whether the kraut psychedelicca, the brass-rock of the free-jazz influences take precedence. Maybe the opener and People from out the Space could deserve the highest praise. It's an essential Krautrock album and a unique title in Embryo's impressive discography. With the next album the band would venture into much more jazz-rock and world oriented directions. 4.5 stars

Review by zravkapt
3 stars Embryo are a German group who started out in the psychedelic/krautrock mold, but soon went into a jazzier and more world music oriented sound. This is their first album. The music here sometimes sounds similar to the debut album of Amon Duul II, Phallus Dei. Members of Embryo appear on that album. There is a violin sound on the album which is supposedly done on something called a motocello. Also some sax in addition to the drums and guitars. A little bit of organ can be heard as well. Although not as jazzy as later albums, there is still a jazz influence here.

The title track is a very late 1960s sounding psych rock song with violin. The repetative violin/motocello in the middle is hypnotic. After a free and loose beginning, "You Don't Know What's Happening" goes into a tom-tom dominated spacey part with echoed vocals. Then a psych rock chorus. The two parts alternate. "Revolution" is a very energenic and upbeat instrumental. Love the bass sound here. Great drumming. Skronking sax solo in the middle. Sax plays the main melody of the song. "Glockenspiel" does not feature a glockenspiel. The most jazzy song on the album, another instrumental. You hear what sounds like steel drums but I'm not exactly sure what they are. Very loose song, sounds almost improvised. Slightly spacey song as well.

I'm not sure if the "Call" here has anything to do with the "Call" on the latter album Steig Aus. This is kind of a cross between jazz-rock and psych rock. One of the better tracks which also an instrumental. Decent guitar solo. Some noticeable organ here. "End Of Soul" has more violin/motocello. Vocals again but no singing; the lyrics are spoken (in English). More jazz-rock meets psych rock. "People From Out The Space" is the stand out track. Starts very spacey. After a repeating bassline some catchy sax playing. Great drumming. A little bit of wordless vocals. Nice riff on the bass around 2 1/2 minutes as the guitar solos. The main sax melody is great and memorable.

Most CD versions have two bonus tracks. Drummer Christian Burchard will be the only member here to appear on all future Embryo albums. This would be of interest to Krautrock fans. I prefer the more jazzy and eclectic version of the band, particularly the period 1971-74. This is a good album but they would do better. 3 stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The German band Embryo is labeled Jazz rock/fusion here on PA, and based on their total output, that label is pretty accurate. However, Embryo's debut, "Opal," is the lone true Krautrock album of the band's career. That's not to say that none of their other works contain elements of Krautrock, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#1545603) | Posted by Igor91 | Monday, March 28, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Embryo is undoubtedly one of the leading bands "parked" under the Krautrock umbrella. The reality is that we are talking about an extremely versatile bunch of artists whose overall output is closer to Jazz-Rock/Canterbury than to any other genre. (Well, until much later when they'we embraced Ethnic ... (read more)

Report this review (#900688) | Posted by BORA | Monday, January 28, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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